Young People and Mobility: Furlong’s Work As a Basis for Critical Explorations in This Field

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:10
Oral Presentation
Valentina CUZZOCREA, University of Cagliari, Italy
This presentation seeks to reflect on the work of Andy Furlong and its actual and possible developments for new generations of youth sociologists around the globe paying particular attention to issues of geographical mobility in the study of young people.

I discuss, in the first place, the widely known idea of the ‘epistemological fallacy’ (Furlong & Cartmel, 1997) as an interpretative category in youth studies with special regards to how it may illustrate the contradictions that are generated when young people engage in constructing a mobile and /or more generally transnational career, in line with the so-called ‘mobility dream’ (Cairns et al 2017). I then proceed to revisit and update Furlong’s work on such metaphors as niches, pathways, trajectories and navigations (see Evans & Furlong 1997), again in the light of an existing debate on (geographical) mobility and young people. Should mobility be systematically integrated in these ways of looking at youth transitions? and if so, how?

Through these themes, this presentation overall pays a tribute to Furlong’s work for offering powerful grounds for further research that, while rooted in classical categories such as class, structure vs agency, is also ready to engage with emerging demands in the lives of young people, thus keeping a focus on actual struggles.